Chanequa Campbell, who was barred from graduating after Harvard officials accused her of unspecified "wrongdoing" in connection with the murder of drug dealer Justin Cosby, now says, "I did not say Harvard is racist."
She does say, though, that race as well as class affect "how my peers perceive me and how my school has treated me." She also says she still hopes to graduate, though Harvard has yet to explain its requirement that she leave campus, and she is currently back in Brooklyn. Campbell maintains that she never dealt drugs or even knew Cosby, and she is disappointed that the case has attracted negative attention to her neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant. "I love where I come from," she explains. "I love being 'from the hood.'"
However, she has also found refuge in Italy, where she traveled four times during her years at Harvard. She says "Italy was a place I could be without all of the pressures" of school and of being judged for her background. Kareem Fahim of the Times writes that Italy offered her "a supportive black community of expatriate Americans and Africans." It's a shame that Harvard, which has been trying to improve its economic as well as its racial diversity, couldn't offer her a supportive community as well.
UPDATE: Black Harvard students speak on why they haven't come out in support of Campbell.
Turmoil at End of Path From Bed-Stuy to Harvard [New York Times]
Harvard Targets Middle Class With Student Cost Cuts [Bloomberg]
Why Black Harvard Won't Speak Up For Chanequa [NewsOne]